The Tampa Bay Buccaneers began dipping their toes into the free agency waters with exclusive free agents as Greg Auman reported that the Bucs have re-signed defensive tackle Pat O’Connor to a one-year deal.
Bucs starting to get to work on re-signing exclusive-rights free agents. Defensive lineman Pat O'Connor, a leader on special teams who blocked a punt and had his first career sack last year, is flying back to Tampa today and will re-sign on a one-year deal, be an RFA in 2022.
An exclusive rights free agent is a player on an expiring contract that has accrued two or less seasons of NFL games. Should that player’s team offer a contract to him, no other team can make an offer. This also makes O’Connor a restricted free agent next year.
O’Connor was a staple on the Bucs’ special teams this season and a well liked player in the locker room with his teammates. He had a very eventful 2020 season on the way to winning Super Bowl LV, which included blocking a punt in Week 4 at Denver and recording his first career sack at home against Minnesota in Week 14. Both of those games ended in a win for Tampa Bay.
The Bucs have three more exclusive rights free agents to sign if they so choose. They are long snapper Zach Triner, defensive tackle Jeremiah Ledbetter and tight end Tanner Hudson. Those transactions should be coming over the next couple of days as free agent negotiations starts on Monday, March 15th, before the new NFL year begins on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th.